The World Anti-Doping Agency on Monday unanimously decided to ban Russia from participating in international sports for four years over state-sponsored doping violations. This means Russia would miss out on participating in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Winter Olympics Games and Football World Cup in 2022.
The decision will most certainly be contested by Russia.
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The World Anti-Doping Agency’s board convened on Monday for a special meeting close to the International Olympic Committee’s headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, reports the New York Times.
However, the athletes not part of the cheating scheme will be allowed to participate under a neutral flag.
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The verdict comes after Russia’s Anti Doping Agency (RUSADA) was declared non-compliant for manipulating laboratory data handed over to investigators in January 2019.
RUSADA has 21 days to appeal the ban which will be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).
A total of 168 Russian athletes competed under a neutral flag at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang after the country was banned following the 2014 Games, which it hosted in Sochi. Russian athletes won 33 medals in Sochi, 13 of which were gold.
Wada vice-president Linda Helleland said the ban was “not enough”. “I wanted sanctions that can not be watered down,” she said. “We owe it to the clean athletes to implement the sanctions as strongly as possible,” she was quoted as saying by the BBC.
Russia has been banned from competing as a nation in athletics since 2015.
Despite the ban, Russia will be able to compete at Euro 2020 – in which St Petersburg will be a host city.